Hawai‘i is Top Bucket List Destination

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AARP bucket list.

Hawai‘i is the top U.S. destination on baby boomers’ bucket lists, according to AARP Travel, which recently released the results of its latest study.

About 18% of people over 50 who listed domestic travel on their bucket list had Hawai‘i as one of the places to see before they die.

Among other U.S. destinations, Alaska came in second with 12%, followed by California and Arizona, tied at 8%.


“This is good news for Hawaii and tourism here because the study shows most people with bucket lists are planning to take trips,” said Barbara Kim Stanton, the state director of AARP Hawaii. “Nearly four out of 10 baby boomers have a travel bucket list, with 58% planning to take their next trip in two to five years.”

Australia led international travel bucket list destinations, with 13% including it on their bucket lists. It was followed by Italy (12%, the United Kingdom (11%) and France (10%).

The report also reveals the emotional, mental and physical benefits of creating a travel bucket list.


AARP found that just creating a travel bucket list motivated boomers with a sense of hope and gave them something to look forward to. Additionally, 53% of those preparing for their next trip report that they are getting in shape to fully enjoy the experience.

AARP bucket list travel destinations.

Key Findings from the AARP Travel Bucket List Survey

  • Travel is the top aspirational activity for 50-plus Americans.
  • 69% of baby boomers are optimistic that they will visit the next destination on their travel bucket list
  • Baby boomers hope to get to more than 80% of their list in their lifetime, but consider it a success to check off 65%
  • 53% of baby boomers are getting in shape to prepare for their next bucket list trip
  • 36% of baby boomers have already started saving money for their next bucket list trip
  • Of the eight destinations on their travel bucket lists, half are domestic and half are international
  • 52% of baby boomers go online to get inspired
  • An analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data found that Americans over 50 years of age are investing over $125 billion per year in personal travel, a statistic that will grow as boomers have more time to travel.
  • With baby boomers having already completed 25% of their travel bucket list, 37% of those surveyed will continue to create and check trips off of their lists because it gives them something to look forward to.

“Traveling keeps our body and mind active, from planning and creating an itinerary to getting in better physical shape for the trip,” explained Denise Austin, renowned fitness expert, health advocate and AARP wellness ambassador. “Not only can being physically fit help make the vacation more enjoyable, it often leaves us feeling refreshed and rejuvenated when we’re back home.”


While the benefits of bucket list vacations are clear, there are barriers. According to the survey, 45% of baby boomers identify money as the biggest barrier to accomplishing their travel bucket list. This statistic is further solidified by the fact that 79% of people have investigated their next trip, but only 11% have booked it.

“Usability studies have indicated that consumers frequently check on the weather of possible travel destinations,” said AARP Researcher Patty David. “It’s important to not only consider saving funds and budgeting for the trip, but also ensuring you’ve researched the best time to travel.”

At the center of AARP Travel is, an integrated website for idea generation, planning and booking support to simplify travel for 50-plus Americans. Overall, the AARP Travel resources enable members and others to make the most of their travel experience.

From now until March 31 AARP is giving away $10,000 to help make travel dreams come true. To enter The Great American Expedition Travel Sweepstakes, go online.

The full survey results can be found on AARP’s website.

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